We all know during the month of Ramadan, these poor elderly people suffer the most due to lack of food. Many people fast, even without eating anything!

Dear friends.

I bring you happy greetings from more than 200 elderly widowed Mothers and elderly single Fathers…

We all know during the month of Ramadan, these poor elderly people suffer the most due to lack of food. Many people fast, even without eating anything!

By the grace of Allah, the eve of the Ramadan I was able to deliver food packs to their doorstep for their entire month of fasting.

So far I have been able to deliver 200 food packs to 200 most vulnerable Souls, so that they do not have to suffer this Ramadan anymore.

The food packages include ingredients for healthy Ramadan like, Rice, Lentils, Sugar, Milk, Eggs, Grains, Cooking Oil, Ruhafja juice, Salt, Onions, potatoes, Isabgol (Psyllium husk), Dates, Parched rice, Tissues, Soap, and new dresses.

Many of you came forward to help these elderly people in this holy month of Ramadan. Know that- I can’t thank you enough, but I really believe that Allah has surely arranged beautiful rewards for you all. Ameen.

Now I am going to distribute 300-400 food packs for Eid as well and also new dresses among unprivileged families and children.

I am always thankful and grateful to all my supporters who are constantly supporting and helping me in every way possible in my journey.

May health, happiness, and prosperity always be with you.

Good luck to you.

_GMB Akash

GMB Akash

Photojournalist and Profile Photographer at Panos Pictures, London

Founder of GMB Akash Institute of Photography, Dhaka

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/gmbakash

Website: http://www.gmb-akash.com/home

Photography Workshop: http://www.gmbakashworkshop.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/gmbakash/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gmbakash/

Blog: https://gmbakash.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GmbAkash

Love for Sofur Uddin Chacha.

Dear friends,

You may all remember Sofur Uddin Chacha and Mamtaz Khala, a blessed couple.

Uncle Sofur Uddin, who may not be able to build the Taj Mahal for Mumtaz’s aunt, but at the end of the day, hopes to earn 300 taka per day to buy nuts and Jilabies for his loving wife. A love story that touched all your hearts. A love story that shows wealth and abundance cannot always buy happiness…

The day I heard his story from his mouth, I made up my mind to do something for him.

By the grace of God, after arranging some money I met Uncle Sofur Uddin again to fulfill his wishes, and asked him what he can do to earn 300 taka per day in order to live a prosperous life with his wife. He told me he wishes to get a cow and a calf as he has an abandoned room where he is able to raise them and he could sell the milk in the local market and earn 300 taka per day.

With Uncle Sofur Uddin I went to the local Cow market and he bought a cow and a calf of his choice for himself. I can’t explain to you how his eyes were frequently getting wet in happiness until we brought the cow home!! On the way home, my uncle kept saying ‘your aunt will be very happy seeing this cow and her calf!’ And yes, he was right. She was very happy that she started crying, holding me in her arms!

These joys, these experiences, such warmth of love helps me to continue my work everyday…

The Cow gives 4 liters of milk a day and by selling that milk he can earn about 300 taka per day. Keeping some milk for them, he can earn almost taka 9000 per month. Alhamdulillah, now with this money they can live a prosperous life as they wished for. In total it cost almost 1000 USD.

Thank you so much everyone for showing love and support for Sofur Uddin uncle and Mamtaz aunt. Please keep them in your prayers. Our little effort can change so many lives!!

My friends, your positive support, pure love, and strong faith in me, help me to move forward every single day. Know that, nothing would have been so easy without you all. My journey could never have gone so far without you. I am so grateful!

Please keep me in your prayers so that I may continue my mission to change the lives of helpless people in their need.

Sending my Love and prayers for everyone…

Love and Light

GMB Akash

Photojournalist and Profile Photographer at Panos Pictures, London

Founder of GMB Akash Institute of Photography, Dhaka

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/gmbakash

Website: http://www.gmb-akash.com/home

Photography Workshop: http://www.gmbakashworkshop.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/gmbakash/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gmbakash/

Blog: https://gmbakash.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GmbAkash

Asma a little angel, whose only dream was to go to school.

Dear friends,

You may all remember, Asma a little working girl, her video and story went viral as soon as I posted it on my page last month.

Asma a little angel, whose only dream was to go to school. But this little fairy’s dream was being crushed every day because of the extreme cruelty of poverty ever since she started learning.

You will be happy to know, by the grace of God, I admitted her to the school last week, and yesterday was Asmar’s first day at school.

Asma’s mother and I took her to her first day of school and I can’t explain her expressions of happiness in words…

Just know that, her happiness made me cry…

These precious experiences make my life worthy and inspire me to continue my work farther everyday.

But it was not easy at all. I had to motivate her mother to get Asma admitted to the school. For that, I had to take care all her expenses such as her admission fees, tuition fees, daily food, books, notes, clothes and everything she needs to grow up as a happy child. Also, I had to financially compensate her parents for the entire amount of money she would have earned each month if she had worked instead of going to school. I will bear all her expenses, and I want to make sure she continues her school and gets the beautiful life as she was dreaming of. Please keep Asma in your prayers.

Now Asma is one of my 40 students whom I have been able to enroll into school from their working places.

Thank you so much my friends for always appreciating my journey. Nothing would have been this easier for me without your support and inspiration. My heartfelt gratitude.

Please keep me in your prayers so that I may continue my mission to change the lives of people in need. To me, even one single difference is counted.

Love and Light

_GMB Akash

GMB Akash

Photojournalist and Profile Photographer at Panos Pictures, London

Founder of GMB Akash Institute of Photography, Dhaka

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/gmbakash

Website: http://www.gmb-akash.com/home

Photography Workshop: http://www.gmbakashworkshop.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/gmbakash/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gmbakash/

Blog: https://gmbakash.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GmbAkash

Love for Arifa.

Dear friends,

You may all remember Arifa as I posted a story about her last week.

Arifa is a brilliant student and a beautiful positive soul, whose father is mentally ill and mother is forced to remarry due to scarcity in the family.

Arifa has grown up with her grandmother since she was three years old seeing and surviving hundreds of hardships as a result she forgot how to smile!!

I thank God that Arifa came to my notice last month.

You will be happy to know, by the grace of God,

I admitted her to the school last month and able to take her full financial responsibilities for her lifestyle and schooling. I am going to support her family and her expenses such as her admission fees, tuition fees, daily food, books, notes, clothes and everything she needs to grow up as a happy child. I will bear all the expenses to ensure that she can continue to go to school and get a beautiful and healthy life.

I want to make sure she never forgets to ‘smile’ again…

Thank you so much my friends for always appreciating my journey. Nothing would have been this easier for me without your support and inspiration. My heartfelt gratitude.

Please keep me in your prayers so that I may continue my mission to change the lives of people in need. To me, even one single difference is counted.

Happy Friday.

_GMB Akash

GMB Akash

Photojournalist and Profile Photographer at Panos Pictures, London

Founder of GMB Akash Institute of Photography, Dhaka

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/gmbakash

Website: http://www.gmb-akash.com/home

Photography Workshop: http://www.gmbakashworkshop.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/gmbakash/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gmbakash/

Blog: https://gmbakash.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GmbAkash

Love for Eva Rani.

Dear friends,

You may all remember Eva Rani. The story of this courageous lady touched all your heart and inspired thousands of people.

Last year by gifting Eva Rani, a cow with a calf as an income source, I wanted to give her some hope, so she can remain just as unbroken as she is and can gives life a good fight with her two little daughters.

I also built a shed for them which to keep the cows and in total it cost almost 2000 USD.

She used to get 4 liters of milk from the cow, and by selling the milk she used to earn 300 takas per day. Keeping some milk for her daughters, she was able to earn 9,000 takas per month.

The good news is, the cow gave a new calf again and the previous calf has grown a lot. She is planning to sell the first calf soon and by selling it she can earn around 80 thousand to 1 lakh taka. With that money, she is thinking of repairing her broken hut.

And now by selling the cow’s milk (around 4-5 litters per day) she is continuing her family expenses. As I took all the responsibilities of her daughter’s education and admitted them to a nearby KG School last year. Eva Rani does not have to bear for her children’s education.

Now this family has a happy smile on their face, and they have started living a beautiful healthy life. Please keep them in your prayers.

Our little effort can change the life of a family…

My friends, your positive support pure love, and strong faith in me help me to move forward every single day.

Please keep me in your prayers so that I may continue my mission to change the lives of helpless people as much as I can. To me, even one difference is counted.

Sending my kindest Gratitude, Love and Light to everyone.

_GMB Akash

GMB Akash

Photojournalist and Profile Photographer at Panos Pictures, London

Founder of GMB Akash Institute of Photography, Dhaka

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/gmbakash

Website: http://www.gmb-akash.com/home

Photography Workshop: http://www.gmbakashworkshop.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/gmbakash/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gmbakash/

Blog: https://gmbakash.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GmbAkash

I started with 10 children and now it’s 30 children.

New Year, New Class, New Books, New Dreams… 2022

Dear Friends,

All my 30 students have been promoted to their new classes and they have received their new books. With excitement and happiness they all were shining like stars. It’s a great pleasure for me to share these radiant faces with my friends. Without you, nothing was possible. All these children send their love and gratitude to all of you.

As you all know, in 2020 I took the responsibility for their complete education for my entire life. For that, I am regularly visiting their homes and family to assess their situations. The years are passing for them in the blink of an eye!

I started with 10 children and now it’s 30 children.

Hopefully, in comeing years I will be able to admit and shift more child laborers from their workplace to school.

For more than 15 years, I have been working on the child labor situation in Bangladesh. From the beginning of my photography career, I wanted to change the situation and raise awareness of this issue. However, I was not at all happy seeing these changes happening so very slowly in our society! Therefore, I decided to change peoples’ lives directly and I started with those people who I had photographed and those with whom I was already working.

I started giving training and helped set up businesses for people in need; especially the parents of child laborers. With these businesses I arranged for each of the families, they could earn more money and send their children to school instead of factories. So far, I have given 300 different businesses to 300 families as a gift.

To get working children to school, I had to go door to door many times requesting that their parents send them to school. Finally, I have been able to convince some of the parents about the importance of education.

I motivated them to send their children to school. It was not at all easy. For that, I had to take full financial responsibility for these kids with expenses such as their admission fees, tuition fees, daily food, books, clothes and also to financially compensate their parents for the entire amount of money they would have earned each month if they had worked instead of going to school. I will also have to bear all the children’s expenses to ensure that they will continue to go to school!

Like these 30 children, more than four million children are struggling in our country. Maybe it is difficult, but it is not impossible to give hope to these 4 million children. If only every capable person would give a hand for one child, miracles would happen which could transform our society into a better-educated population who could better contribute to the development of our country, a benefit for all of us.

You can take part in my mission and support my work through Patreon.

https://www.patreon.com/gmbakash

One person can do a lot, but with all of you together we could do so much more.

Sending my respect and prayers.

Love and light!

_GMB Akash

GMB Akash

Photojournalist and Profile Photographer at Panos Pictures, London

Founder of GMB Akash Institute of Photography, Dhaka

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/gmbakash

Website: http://www.gmb-akash.com/home

Photography Workshop: http://www.gmbakashworkshop.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/gmbakash/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gmbakash/

Blog: https://gmbakash.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GmbAkash

Food for street children and homeless people.

My friends,

I hope that you’re all doing well. Today in Dhaka, again I managed the very difficult challenge of gathering an unprecedented number of street children, homeless people and provided them with a good healthy lunch at a local restaurant.

There are some people who are not as lucky as we are to eat a healthy meal in a while.

I try to feed those unprivileged poor people every Friday in different places of Bangladesh. Sharing some of the happy faces with you taken today.

This year 2022, in only one and a half months until today, 1,024,406 people died from hunger in the World and it’s continuing every minute.

My friends, my request to you, if you ever see someone hungry, please try to feed them.

As we all know, “The best of all charities is to feed a hungry person.”

Thank you my friends for always supporting my work and me. I am grateful from my heart.

Please keep me in your prayers so that I can continue my journey to put a smile on a face in need.

Sending my love and best wishes for you all.

Have a very Happy Friday!

_GMB Akash

GMB Akash

Photojournalist and Profile Photographer at Panos Pictures, London

Founder of GMB Akash Institute of Photography, Dhaka

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/gmbakash

Website: http://www.gmb-akash.com/home

Photography Workshop: http://www.gmbakashworkshop.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/gmbakash/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gmbakash/

Blog: https://gmbakash.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GmbAkash

New Year, New Class, New Books, New Dreams… 2022

New Year, New Class, New Books, New Dreams… 2022

Dear Friends,

All my 30 students have been promoted to their new classes and they have received their new books. With excitement and happiness they all were shining like stars. It’s a great pleasure for me to share these radiant faces with my friends. Without you, nothing was possible. All these children send their love and gratitude to all of you.

As you all know, in 2020 I took the responsibility for their complete education for my entire life. For that, I am regularly visiting their homes and family to assess their situations. The years are passing for them in the blink of an eye!

I started with 10 children and now it’s 30 children.

Hopefully, in comeing years I will be able to admit and shift more child laborers from their workplace to school.

For more than 15 years, I have been working on the child labor situation in Bangladesh. From the beginning of my photography career, I wanted to change the situation and raise awareness of this issue. However, I was not at all happy seeing these changes happening so very slowly in our society! Therefore, I decided to change peoples’ lives directly and I started with those people who I had photographed and those with whom I was already working.

I started giving training and helped set up businesses for people in need; especially the parents of child laborers. With these businesses I arranged for each of the families, they could earn more money and send their children to school instead of factories. So far, I have given 150 different businesses to 150 families as a gift.

To get working children to school, I had to go door to door many times requesting that their parents send them to school. Finally, I have been able to convince some of the parents about the importance of education.

I motivated them to send their children to school. It was not at all easy. For that, I had to take full financial responsibility for these kids with expenses such as their admission fees, tuition fees, daily food, books, clothes and also to financially compensate their parents for the entire amount of money they would have earned each month if they had worked instead of going to school. I will also have to bear all the children’s expenses to ensure that they will continue to go to school!

Like these 30 children, more than four million children are struggling in our country. Maybe it is difficult, but it is not impossible to give hope to these 4 million children. If only every capable person would give a hand for one child, miracles would happen which could transform our society into a better-educated population who could better contribute to the development of our country, a benefit for all of us.

You can take part in my mission and support my work through Patreon.

https://www.patreon.com/gmbakash

One person can do a lot, but with all of you together we could do so much more.

Sending my respect and prayers.

Love and light!

GMB Akash

GMB Akash

Photojournalist and Profile Photographer at Panos Pictures, London

Founder of GMB Akash Institute of Photography, Dhaka

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/gmbakash

Website: http://www.gmb-akash.com/home

Photography Workshop: http://www.gmbakashworkshop.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/gmbakash/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gmbakash/

Blog: https://gmbakash.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GmbAkash

Distributed 500 more blankets among the most deserving and unprivileged people..

Dear friends,

By the grace of God, yesterday again I have distributed 500 more blankets among the most deserving and unprivileged people and completed the distribution of winter products for this year.

During this winter, by breaking through the fog, I finally able to bring some sunshine into the lives of nearly 1000+ souls.

Throughout the winter, I have distributed hundreds of blankets among old couples, old single mothers and fathers and winter Shawls for working women and winter jackets for children.

As you all know distributing of winter clothing is a very difficult process and time consuming as well. But I have tried my best to gift those blankets door to door to every deserving person with my own hands.

If this whole month of my hard work comes to help even a single person to reduce their winter sufferings for a moment, then there’s value in the work I do.

To bring these blossoming smiles on so many faces has only became possible because of You all my friends, who are constantly supporting my journey every day.

And I believe, the prayers of these grateful people will surely reach your doorstep.Sending my love and gratitude. _GMB Akash

GMB Akash

Photojournalist and Profile Photographer at Panos Pictures, London

Founder of GMB Akash Institute of Photography, Dhaka

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/gmbakash

Website: http://www.gmb-akash.com/home

Photography Workshop: http://www.gmbakashworkshop.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/gmbakash/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gmbakash/

Blog: https://gmbakash.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GmbAkash

Distributing winter clothes to 500 unprivileged working women.

Dear Friends,

I have been distributing winter clothes to  unprivileged working women so that they can safely go to work in the mornings without harm to their health. Over 500 poor day labourers are being given clothes that they could otherwise not afford.

In order to express my appreciation to all for your generosity, I am presenting few happy faces. I would like to share the happiness and comfort with all of you that you have created and I want to pass on to you the gratitude for your love and care for these unprivileged women.

I cannot thank my friends enough. Still, we have a long way to go and we all want to continue such a journey in the future. We will leave footprints of love and kindness wherever we will step. Loads of love and blessings to you all.

Love and Light!

GMB Akash

GMB Akash

Photojournalist and Profile Photographer at Panos Pictures, London

Founder of GMB Akash Institute of Photography, Dhaka

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/gmbakash

Website: http://www.gmb-akash.com/home

Photography Workshop: http://www.gmbakashworkshop.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/gmbakash/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gmbakash/

Blog: https://gmbakash.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GmbAkash

Gifting winter jackets among street children and unprivileged students from all over Bangladesh.

Dear friends,

Since last month I have been gifting hundreds of winter jackets among street children and unprivileged students from all over Bangladesh.

The distribution of blankets for old helpless couples, old single mothers and fathers and winter clothing for unprivileged working women continues this month also.

I believe our little love can easily put a smile on so many faces and our little care can end sufferings of so many disadvantaged people.

Sharing some happy faces with you all…

It doesn’t cost much to help people, all it takes is love and care, and a strong desire to share that love with everyone.

Let us all spread our love to everyone, especially those who have no one to stand by them…

Thank you my friends for always supporting me and my work. I am always grateful from my heart.

_GMB Akash

GMB Akash

Photojournalist and Profile Photographer at Panos Pictures, London

Founder of GMB Akash Institute of Photography, Dhaka

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/gmbakash

Website: http://www.gmb-akash.com/home

Photography Workshop: http://www.gmbakashworkshop.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/gmbakash/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gmbakash/

Blog: https://gmbakash.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GmbAkash

Distributing blankets among unprivileged!

Dear friends,

During this winter, by breaking through the fog, I was able to bring some sunshine into the lives of nearly 600 souls.

By the grace of God, and all your support, I have been distributing hundreds of blankets among old helpless couples, old single mothers and fathers and winter clothing for unprivileged working women and children. The distribution continues this month as well

All this happening because of all your kind support and love for my work.

In order to express my appreciation to all for your generosity, I would like to share these priceless happy faces with all of you.

Being unwanted, unloved and uncared by the people we love is a greatest illness and I believe with an affectionate smile and an overwhelming hug we can ease the illness for a while.

Love and light.

_GMB Akash

GMB Akash

Photojournalist and Profile Photographer at Panos Pictures, London

Founder of GMB Akash Institute of Photography, Dhaka

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/gmbakash

Website: http://www.gmb-akash.com/home

Photography Workshop: http://www.gmbakashworkshop.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/gmbakash/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gmbakash/

Blog: https://gmbakash.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GmbAkash

Breaking the silence!

This month I have started gifting ‘Hygiene Bags’ among unprivileged teenage girls who are really in need but who can’t afford it. 

We have distributed 200 hygiene bags to 200 girls just in the last 2 weeks. I have been doing this action for some time now and these 200 girls will receive this ‘Hygiene Bag’ every year until they have completed their education and they have started earning enough for themselves to afford buying their own hygiene products. I do this so that these 200 girls will find some relief during their monthly hardships and be able to concentrate on their studies and move towards a healthy future. 

A ‘Hygiene Bag’ is not just a gift bag, it represents happiness for a sister. It facilitates the journey towards a healthy future for a girl but mostly, it gives relief from the physical and mental suffering at that time of the month.

Every bag consists of 15 packets of sanitary pads for one year, 6 inner garments, two towels, 24 bars of soap for washing and bathing as well as an informative letter from me.

 

Almost 80% of the women in Bangladesh do not use sanitary napkins mainly due to their high cost or simply due to their lack of awareness which leaves them susceptible to a myriad of health problems.

I personally visited and talked to the girls. Most of them mentioned that they cannot afford these products or their families simply don’t buy them for their girls. In many cases, they cannot even tell the family of their need because they are already in severe poverty.

Many thanks to my volunteer friends who were in the field these last two weeks beside me. They helped with the buying and transporting of the products to different parts of Bangladesh as well as distributing and giving counsel to the girls. 

Please keep me in your prayers so I can always do my small part to serve the people in need till my last days. 

You can also be a part of making some of them smile; you can also tell them they are loved; you can also give them some hope for a day or for a lifetime. If you want to contribute, please email me at akashphoto@gmail.com

Love and Light!

GMB Akash

Photojournalist and Profile Photographer at Panos Pictures, London

Founder of GMB Akash Institute of Photography, Dhaka

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/gmbakash

Website: http://www.gmb-akash.com/home

Photography Workshop: http://www.gmbakashworkshop.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/gmbakash/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gmbakash/

Blog: https://gmbakash.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GmbAkash

Love for Rudro!

I have some good news to share with you about Rudro’s family! Rudro’s family had endured such hardship when his father had a stroke that crippled him greatly and the family had become destitute.

I had been taking care of all of Rudro’s expenses for his education since he was in class 9.

Rudro is now studying in the 2nd year in a highly prestigious Notre Dame College (Notre Dame College is the best college in Dhaka as well as in Bangladesh) And I will continue helping his family till he gets a job and starts earning for them himself.

I am sharing a short video where Rudro wanted to express his gratitude.

“Our little help, little words, little recommendations could bring light in some dark places of this earth.”

For the last two years I have been studying at the prestigious Notre Dame College in Dhaka. In 2021 my education at Notre Dame will be completed. From class 9, Akash brother took care of all my expenses so that I could go to school.

_ Rudro

My father is sick; he is paralyzed and unable to earn anything. Without Akash brother’s help, my education would have stopped long ago. Four years ago Akash brother gifted us a cow with a calf.

_ Rudro

We have now received four calves from that cow. After raising those calves, we sold them and got a good amount of money. If Akash brother had not helped me by giving us this cow and the first calf, I have no idea what would have happened to my family, my education and my father’s treatment. 

Like me, Akash brother helps many people from our village with small family businesses or scholarships for education. Akash brother built a school in our village where around 150 poor children receive nearly free education. I pray for Akash brother so he can help more people.

_ Rudro

GMB Akash

Photojournalist and Profile Photographer at Panos Pictures, London

Founder of GMB Akash Institute of Photography, Dhaka

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/gmbakash

Website: http://www.gmb-akash.com/home

Photography Workshop: http://www.gmbakashworkshop.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/gmbakash/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gmbakash/

Blog: https://gmbakash.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GmbAkash

COVID-19 and the impact on my 150 families.

Dear Friends,

I’m sharing a video here with some of these brave and beautiful people who wanted to express their gratitude and their emotions with you because of the help I have been giving them for the last 5 – 6 months.

I want to keep you updated about During this crisis of the Coronavirus, the 150 families that I have been helping have suffered much during this time of great hardship.

‘Bless you for your kind help during this horrible crisis period. May Allah always keep you happy and healthy.’

‘We want to say that during this Corona time, Akash uncle helped us so much. Otherwise, we would probably have died.’

‘These include the families that I have helped by creating small businesses; the parents and families of the 20 working children whom I had recently admitted to school before the virus struck; the families of the hundreds of poor students to whom I have given scholarships; as well as the 30 elderly couples who are childless and living on their own for whom I have taken responsibility for the rest of their lives.’

‘During this Coronavirus time we could not earn anything and had no money to eat. Akash brother helped us. Allah blessed us with peace. We pray for Akash brother.’

All of these vulnerable souls have been having terrible problems during this critical Pandemic. By the grace of God, I have been trying to personally take care of all of them the last 5 – 6 months. I have committed myself to be responsible for them and I will look after all of them until the situation becomes more stable. Around 150 families are getting support from my side.

Please keep me in your prayers so that I may continue my mission to change the lives of the unprivileged and to continue my commitments to them as well as enable them to integrate into society which would improve the lives of all of us.

‘During the last four moths our situation has been really terrible we even had no rice to eat at our home; we had nothing to eat. We had no work! During that critical moment, Akash brother came beside us. He helps us economically and mentally. If he did not help us, possibly we would not die because of Coronavirus, but surely, we would have died from hunger at that time. Poverty is so devastating in our village that if we don’t work one day, we cannot even manage to buy food for that day. During this crisis our Akash brother helped us. My family and I are always so grateful to him. We always pray for him. Please all of you watching this pray for his long life.’

‘We all have been suffering a lot during this Coronavirus crisis. We have had no food at home. Once during the whole day we had nothing at all to eat. That moment Akash brother was standing beside us to help. Akash brother helps in whatever way he possibly can. It was only with his help that we survived. My husband works in a mill and he has had no work since the crisis began. During these terrible times, Akash brother has helped us.,

GMB Akash

Photojournalist and Profile Photographer at Panos Pictures, London

Founder of GMB Akash Institute of Photography, Dhaka

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/gmbakash

Website: http://www.gmb-akash.com/home

Photography Workshop: http://www.gmbakashworkshop.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/gmbakash/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gmbakash/

Blog: https://gmbakash.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GmbAkash

Dreams of child laborers

Every time I am working with children on different projects, I like to collect their stories and I always ask them to tell me their dreams. Here, I am sharing with you 10 common dreams that these working children keep inside their hearts! These dreams can give us insights into the souls of these little angels.

Child labour in Bangladesh is sadly very common with 4.8 million child labourers or 12.6% of all children aged 5 to 14 finding themselves in the work force in order to survive or to help their family survive.

I have been working on this issue for the last 15 or more years to create awareness and to bring about positive changes in our society.During these last years, I have taken a lot of steps in an effort to contribute to the education of some of these impoverished working children.

A few years ago, I set up a school for unprivileged children outside of Dhaka where around 160 children from rural villages receive nearly free education. Most of their parents are illiterate and these children will be the first generation to be able to improve their lives and the lives of their families.

I have also given scholarships to hundreds of students who, otherwise would not be able to continue their education and might end up working in factories and in hard labour jobs.

Recently I have been trying to admit working children to school. I have been giving small businesses to their parents so they can earn enough money for the family and send their children to school instead of a factory. So far, I have admitted 22 children to school and have taken full responsibility for their education including all expenses. I will see that these activities will be continued for these children and hopefully more children, until my last breath.

These efforts have, of course, been effected by the COVID-19 health pandemic and the resulting economic and labour market shock that is having a catastrophic impact, in particular, on poor people’s lives and livelihoods.

Unfortunately, children are often the first to suffer. This crisis can push millions more vulnerable children into child labour.

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When I grow up, I want to be the owner of a factory and I will name my factory after my mother. _ Razu

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I want to send my younger sister to school; she loves to study and to go to school. _Sojib

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I want to build a factory where there will be more light, drinking water, fans and more space for working._ Munna

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We will rent a big house in our slum so my parents and my younger sister can sleep comfortably at night. Now, in one room four of us cannot sleep. It is too warm and crowded!- Sobuj

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My mother works as a maid and my father pulls a rickshaw. I want to grow up fast so I can earn more money every day. Then my parents won’t need to work._ Parvin

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I wish I could work in a textile factory. They have a better environment with a fan, toilet and clean building._Shilu

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I dream I will have my own factory where nobody will beat any children nor say bad words to them. _Joinal

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I studied until class 3 and then we came to the city for work. I miss my school and our village. I Hope I can return to our village and study in our village school._Midul

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I want to buy everything that my mother likes. Like new sarees for her, good shoes for her, anything she loves._ Koli

GMB Akash (5)

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GMB Akash 

Photojournalist and Profile Photographer at Panos Pictures, London

Founder of GMB Akash Institute of Photography, Dhaka

TEDxHyderabad:https://youtu.be/sXbmBCzgy8A

TEDxYouth:https://youtu.be/rLG7sPs6MkU

Website: www.gmb-akash.com

Photo Agency: www.panos.co.uk

Photography Workshop: www.gmbakashworkshop.com

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/gmbakash

Instagram: www.instagram.com/gmbakash

Blog: www.gmbakash.wordpress.com

Twitter:www.twitter.com/GmbAkash

Tribute to Refugees around the world.

I have spent years documenting refugees and their children. In recent years I have been interviewing and photographing the tragedies of the families escaping for their lives to Greece from the Middle East as well as the desperate Rohingya and Bihari refugees escaping to Bangladesh from border countries.

To closely experience their lives as well as to help and speak with the families. I spent nights awake in Lesbos Greece waiting for dilapidated and overloaded boats to arrive from Turkey. Sometimes the boats never made it. I walked hundreds of kilometers along with the refugees while they were trying to cross the border out of Greece. In between, I was in their camps, shelters and anywhere they were, trying to discover their pain, suffering, and anguish that refugees must face.

My experiences were eye-opening, tragic, sad, terrifying, and oftentimes shocking.

You can do your part by SHARING THIS post about millions of refugees who need support.

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Plight of Rohingya Refugees

More than 24,000 Rohingya were killed by the Myanmar military and local Buddhists. It also estimated that at least 18,000 Rohingya Muslim women and girls were raped, 36,000 Rohingya were thrown into fire.

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The Refugee Crisis in Greece

As of December 7, 2015, more than 911,000 refugees and migrants had arrived on European shores since the year began and some 3,550 lives had been lost during the journey. Over 75 per cent of those arriving in Europe had fled conflict and persecution in Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq.

The civil war in Syria has led to one of the worst humanitarian crises of our lifetime.

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The neglected ‘Bihari’ community in Bangladesh

While the international community is focused on the plight of Rohingya refugees, not many in the world are aware of the ordeal of Bihari Muslims who migrated from India in 1947.

This is not just a story of poverty and despair. This is the story of a community of over one hundred sixty thousand stateless Biharis who have lived like animals for the last 40 years.

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World Day Against Child Labour

There are an estimated 152 million children in child labour, 72 million of which are in hazardous work.

Child labour in Bangladesh is common, with 4.8 million or 12.6% of children aged 5 to 14 in the work force.

No one has the time to listen to these unfortunate children who are mostly unseen humans beings. I always wanted to deliver their voices to all of you and show you their hidden pain and anguish. I tell their stories, depict their emotions, and steal their sorrows into my frames…

On the occasion of #WorldDayAgainstChildLabour let us Pledge to Secure the Future of our Children.

Let them Learn, Not Earn.

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At the age where they should play and study, they are earning to fill their Stomachs!

No one deserves this childhood!

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The COVID-19 health pandemic and the resulting economic and labour market shock are having a huge impact on people’s lives and livelihoods. Unfortunately, children are often the first to suffer. The crisis can push millions of vulnerable children into child labour.

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Can you exchange a day with your own child in the place of these children? Can you deposit your children’s labor in such a place for a day in return for $1. If you can’t, can you please do something for these children? “Wishing to help” is an excuse. Shame is a mild word to what we are overlooking. May our spirits wake up?

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GMB Akash 

Photojournalist and Profile Photographer at Panos Pictures, London

Founder of GMB Akash Institute of Photography, Dhaka

TEDxHyderabad:https://youtu.be/sXbmBCzgy8A

TEDxYouth:https://youtu.be/rLG7sPs6MkU

Website: www.gmb-akash.com

Photo Agency: www.panos.co.uk

Photography Workshop: www.gmbakashworkshop.com

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/gmbakash

Instagram: www.instagram.com/gmbakash

Blog: www.gmbakash.wordpress.com

Twitter:www.twitter.com/GmbAkash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faces of Bhutan by GMB Akash 

Bhutan has continually been ranked as the happiest country in all of Asia, and the eighth Happiest Country in the world.

Bhutan does not believe in GDP as an indicator of economic growth and development. It has introduced another measurement known as Gross National Happiness.

Bhutan, the Land of Thunder Dragon, is one of the most intriguing places I’ve visited.

– Bhutan is truly a feast for the eyes.

A tribute to Kingdom of Bhutan

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Bhutan is the only country in the world that is carbon negative – meaning that it absorbs more carbon dioxide than it emits.

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Bhutan is the only country in the world that has no traffic lights.

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The United Nations recognized Bhutan as a country only in 1974.

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Plastic bags are banned in Bhutan.

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Education and healthcare is free for all citizens.

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Bhutan is the first country in the world to ban tobacco.

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Bhutan is one of the last countries in the world to introduce television to its people. The government lifted a ban on TV—and on the Internet—only 11 years ago.

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One-third of Bhutan’s population is under the age of 14; its median age is 22.3 years.

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Isolated from the World Until The 1970s.

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Bhutanese call their home “Druk Yul,” which means “the Land of the Thunder Dragons,” because of the extremely powerful storms which constantly roar in from the Himalayas.

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The first foreign tourists were allowed into Bhutan in 1974.

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Bhutan is a Buddhist country with strong beliefs.

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Bhutan is famous for its colorful, vibrant festivals.

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Bhutan has never been conquered.

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It is mandatory for the Bhutanese to wear their national costume.

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It is Illegal to Kill Anything.

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All of Bhutan’s buildings must follow the traditional architectural style.

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GMB Akash 

Photojournalist and Profile Photographer at Panos Pictures, London

Founder of GMB Akash Institute of Photography, Dhaka

TEDxHyderabad:https://youtu.be/sXbmBCzgy8A

TEDxYouth:https://youtu.be/rLG7sPs6MkU

Website: www.gmb-akash.com

Photo Agency: www.panos.co.uk

Photography Workshop: www.gmbakashworkshop.com

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/gmbakash

Instagram: www.instagram.com/gmbakash

Blog: www.gmbakash.wordpress.com

Twitter:www.twitter.com/GmbAkash

World Labour Day

For some people life is full of insurmountable challenges. Their lives ensure that they only have access to receive less than the minimum of life’s essentials and they cannot possibly miss any of their labour tasks and still survive. Just standing in one place which appears even more minimalist with just a few machines and the machine’s human operators. There is only one slow fan, one dirty window and a room full of dusty air, dirty smoke and toxic fuel, all these contribute immediately to one’s feeling of ‘suffocation’.  Those compact factories create an illusion for me which shows me simple production, but with genius and strength, Our perception tells us that ‘Artists’ create masterpieces, but day workers are only viewed as replicating manual production. The only thing in common that we see for artists and day workers is perhaps their dedication.

People who live on the margins of society with only the hope of living a bare life with only the minimum essentials,  and hopefully still being capable of feeding a family. The economy that runs in air-conditioned chambers are operating at their finest since there are thousands of hands in the backyards which hardly ever stop. These labourers do not have any dress code but at the end of the day, their attire and appearance  is all the same. They are black-grey skinned, dusky-dirty. Deprived of even life’s barest necessities, these people still manage to live each day with a smile on their face. They are the ‘day labourers’, but to me they are human beings of worth. Humans of worth for all the goodwill they’ve given to society without expecting anything; neither name, nor fame, nor sufficient money.

This World Labour Day has special significance for all of us. However, especially during this pandemic, these impoverished day labourers are the ones who are suffering the most by living on the lowest rung of the economic ladder.

It’s #TimeToCare and to thank our hard-working invisible day workers by doing whatever we can, starting today while we celebrate this Labour Day.  #worldlabourday2020

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© GMB Akash / www.gmb-akash.com

 

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GMB Akash 

Photojournalist and Profile Photographer at Panos Pictures, London

Founder of GMB Akash Institute of Photography, Dhaka

TEDxHyderabad:https://youtu.be/sXbmBCzgy8A

TEDxYouth:https://youtu.be/rLG7sPs6MkU

Website: www.gmb-akash.com

Photo Agency: www.panos.co.uk

Photography Workshop: www.gmbakashworkshop.com

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/gmbakash

Instagram: www.instagram.com/gmbakash

Blog: www.gmbakash.wordpress.com

Twitter:www.twitter.com/GmbAkash

Incredible Women

“Sometimes the strongest women are the ones who love beyond all faults, who cry behind closed doors, and who fight battles that nobody knows about. This blog post is dedicated to honouring women who are living at the edge of the society and who continue their fighting to earn food and dignity but who rarely ever come into the world’s limelight. Even the society in which they are living has never appreciated their bravery. I have met with many of them, discovering up close how women have worked for the greater good and have brought about change in their families and society. This is a way to pay tribute to a mother, sister, wife, daughter, friend and the many roles a woman plays in her life. These personalities have taught me that nothing can kill the spirit of a woman and that is what makes her so incredibly beautiful” – GMB Akash

I am sharing with you few heart-warming real-life stories of Women, Featured first on my Facebook page: GMB Akash

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‘We do everything a man does, our working hours are same. But when I went to take my wage the manager gave me 50 taka less than my male coworker. I asked what my mistake was. He shouted on me and said, ‘You did more job than him. But you don’t wear shirt. You are a woman. You will get always less.’ Next day I came to work by wearing a shirt. All man laughed at me. I ignored and asked him to pay me equal as I wore shirt after listening to him. I clearly saw he was hesitating and was afraid of my bravery. But again he said, ‘He will pay all women equal if all of us can wear shirt.’ He gave me a smile like a fox. I lost hope, knowing no one will wear a shirt. Next day when I arrived to field all women were wearing their husband’s shirt on the top of their saree. I never could imagine the manager would be this much afraid of seeing us together. He paid all women equal to men for the first time in his ten years of brick field’s history. From that day girls call me, ‘Hero’. I don’t mind!’

_ Taslima

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During my whole life I kept my mouth shut to be a good woman. I accepted my fate and all those abuses my entire life but I never could forgive myself. I was ashamed of myself but I couldn’t tell anyone; when at the age of 4 my mother’s own brother used to touch me in bad ways. My mother believed him and even gave me to him to take care of. I couldn’t fight back when my father’s cousin raped me while coming back from school at the age of 5. Crying in pain I told my elder sister. She said, “Do not tell anyone; people will call you a bad girl!” I couldn’t tell my father that the rickshaw puller he reserved for me for my safety to take me to school put his hands in the wrong places when he helped me to get down from the rickshaw. I Told my mother about it and my mother changed the rickshaw driver but she didn’t share it with my father and told me not to share it with anyone. She said, “People will call you bad!” I never could complain to anyone when my school teacher used to touch my back. I could never forget all the abuses that happened to me. I never used to go in front of my uncles when I became a young woman ever again. I was scared of every man in my life.

Every woman dreams about their wedding and their husband. I was also not different from them. But all my dreams were crushed badly as well as all my expectations when on my wedding night I got raped again by my own drunk husband. Even I couldn’t say anything when he brought his friend to my room one night for money. During my pregnancy I used to pray to God, “Please don’t give me a girl because I know she will have to go through all these things I have been tolerating my whole life. But I became the mother of a girl 10 years ago. I never let her hide from my eyes for a minute. I took her everywhere. But I couldn’t keep my mouth shut when that night my husband brought a man into my daughter’s room. I started yelling and screaming insanely. All my anger that I had been carrying my whole life came out as my greatest strength. I couldn’t control myself and took the dagger to stab my husband and the man. They both ran away. I complained to the police and for the last year my husband has been in jail. People call me a bad woman. They say that to me because I had my husband put in jail. I don’t feel shame, rather I feel good when they call me a bad woman. It took 32 years to gather the courage to become a bad woman and shout out for my respect and my dignity.

_Nazma Begum

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I started working as a labourer a year ago. Including me, there are only ten females working at this site. The constructor does not like to employ women. There are fifty men working besides us. They always get break times to drink tea or smoke cigarettes. But we, the female group never get any breaks. For almost a year, the strongest man of our group has been making fun of us every day. Sometimes he said, he can carry more buckets of stones than the women, even when he sleeps. The contractor laughed loudly at his jokes. And sometimes after transporting all the buckets of stones he showed us his muscle and the men laughed at us. A week ago I asked our contractor to give us at least a half an hour break. He mocked me, pointed to the macho man and openly declared that he would give women equal break time, if I or any other woman could beat the man the next day. I looked at our women’s group and they were looking at the ground. On my way back home, my little girl was warning me never to challenge a man. I asked her why, then my five-year-old girl fearfully showed me her muscle and told me, ‘We don’t have this.’ The next day, when I came to work I told them I was ready to take on the challenge. When I started carrying the buckets of stones beside our macho man, everyone stopped working and started clapping. It turned into some kind of game. I had no idea how time had passed. When the contractor asked me to stop I looked at the man beside me, he was lying on the ground, already very exhausted. Then I saw that I had transported fifty more buckets than him. When every woman was screaming with joy, I looked at my girl and she jumped into my arms. I did not say a word. I had to prove to my little girl that, women too have muscle but they do not like to show it off.


_Aklima

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My son, Sahed, continuously cries for milk, but I’m not able to breastfeed him. I have not eaten anything for three days. There is nothing coming from my breasts. I have survived only by drinking water from the roadside ponds.

I delivered my only child in the jungle three days ago. My pain started while fleeing from our house. Shouting from the pain, I collapsed by the roadside. Three women who were also running came forward to help me. They covered me with banana leaves and helped me to give birth to my baby.
For the past two days we have been sitting in a rough, muddy road that runs through a rice field. We become wet from the rain and dry by the hot sunlight of day. There are children and old people everywhere, screaming for food and water. There is nothing to eat. We’ve slept under the open sky for the last nine nights.

When our house was burned to ashes by the Myanmar military, I walked mile-after-mile with my nine-month pregnancy. Everything we carried was taken from us for the river crossing to Bangladesh.I lost track of my husband, Abdul Noor, when we fled. I have no idea if he is alive or not. Maybe he has already been killed by the Myanmar army and my son has already lost his father. Just like he has lost his country.

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I gave birth to my youngest daughter eight hours ago. The only midwife on my island was away from our village to a faraway island for a couple of days. My husband spent hours at the midwife’s door in hope for her return. The weather was not good so he also asked for a boat from a neighbor just in case I had to go to hospital in an emergency. My husband started living in fear since I went to the maternity center for a vaccination. Vaccinations are very important for me, I vaccinated all my daughters. That day I also went for a free maternity checkup. I found out the baby is breech and I might need to have an operation. My husband was upset from that day on; even he dreamed many nights that my daughter and I died during her birth. My husband told me, ’You are not as strong as me. I will sell my fishing net and with the money I will arrange for an operation.’ We are very poor; I stopped him from selling the net which brings food for us. I remained calm, because I am stronger than my man, and I had faith in my power, not as woman, but as a mother. Yesterday morning my pain started, I did everything that I do every day. I sent my husband to work and asked him not to panic. I fed our cows, chickens and then I went to the river to get water. I cooked and did some housework. My husband did not return from work as usual though he was supposed to have reached here by that time. At evening time, I served dinner to my daughters and sat with them to explain that they needed to support me as their father had not arrived on time. It was raining heavily outside and my pain was going out of my control. I asked my elder daughter to pour more hot water in the bowl, as I prepared to have water birth. My daughters started crying while circling me, I told them, ‘If I die, tell everyone that your mother was strong enough to fight more than any man’. The midwife arrived just when my baby was crowning. After having brought the midwife, my husband stayed outside as he could not bear to see the pain I had. He entered when my daughter was placed onto my chest. My whole family cried while the new born was crying. We named her, ‘Sukhitan’. Maybe as a woman I cannot do what a man do, but women are not weak; we can do many things that a man cannot do.

_ Fuyara Begum.

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I move from place to place; from village to village. Everyone calls me beggar Kulsum. You can call me that too. No one knows from where I have come. I never tell anyone who I am. I had a mansion, surrounded by three ponds and four gardens. It was always hard to fall asleep because the smell of the flowers was so strong at night. Oftentimes I felt heaven was my home. And there was always my supportive husband. Every morning I prepared uncountable cakes for him and he never let me wear the same saree more than a few times. I never allowed my maids to clean inside our private rooms in the house; they were responsible for only other parts and outside buildings of the mansion. I had passed forty-seven years of our married life making cakes, watering trees and wakening up at nights alone when he left for business in faraway places. I got married when I was ten; my husband was the only friend I had. I had passed my married life by making cakes and wandering in our beautiful gardens. My husband never let me feel alone in our childless life. I remained happy in his light. One day I went to see one of my sick maids. There I accidently met a woman who was wearing the same wedding bangle I had. Eventually from my maid I found out that my husband kept his second marriage secret from me for twenty years. There he had two daughters and a son. I spent my nights by looking at his face and realized how much he had loved me. Maybe every day he thought about leaving me; maybe during every festival he wanted to spend his time with his new family; maybe he felt guilty when I put my right hand every night on his chest. Because he had loved me and I was his only friend too at one time, I wanted him to be happy without regret. I also wanted a happy memory of my very loving husband with our all ponds and gardens. I convinced one of my loyal maids to spread the news that I accidentally fell in the river and was swept away. She did it as an exchange for all my gold ornaments. You are talking to dead Umme Kulsum. She died twenty years ago. No one cried for her; neither did I. Sometimes people ask me what they should do when I will die and what my last wish is. I have told no one before you. If ever he arrives searching for me tell him I missed our home, gardens and him every single second of my life. But I wanted him to be free from my love. His happiness is what I wanted even if it required letting go of my former life. And I do not regret what I had done. Sometimes in love you have to leave.

_Umme Kulsum

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We five sisters are the heart of our father. I am the third child of my father and he thought I was very useless. But I know he loves me the most because I am very fond of him. After marrying off my two elder sisters, my father only had me to rely upon for keeping his money safe, preparing betel leaf for him, giving him the towel when he goes to the shower and every other household chore. My other two sisters were very young. My father used to search for me by calling out, “Where is my tail?” This is because he thought he is the ‘body’ and I was the unbreakable useless part of him, ‘the tail’.

But I had to leave my ‘body’ one day. That day, when I went to Dhaka in search of work and money, leaving ‘my body’, I didn’t cry at all. How could I cry? My responsibility was more important to me than crying.

I remembered that oftentimes in our family home before going to sleep in our room, I used to hear my father telling my mother with his mellow voice, “I wish we had a son then he could earn money for us. I am getting older and sicker day after day. Who will take care of you all?” One night he started crying loudly and said, “My daughters have become my pain and my main burden now. How will I arrange marriages for all of them? I am a poor farmer.” That night I cried the whole night; the whole night I could not sleep. I promised myself that I will take all the responsibilities of my family. I promised I will never get married before I arrange marriages for my sisters and give a better life to my parents.

I started working at Dhaka in a factory and sent money to my father every month for my family and tried to save some money. During those years my father tried to marry me off. He used to make up various issues to call me home. Every time before going home I used to shave my head so that the groom would not like me.

I left Dhaka after 3 years and bought three milking cows with baby calves and started farming at our house. In our village no girls herded cows or goats. Everyone started talking nonsense about me but I didn’t listen to anyone. Why should I stop? I promised myself that I will prove to my father that if you give opportunities and inspiration to a daughter, she can do anything that a son can do.
In the next four years from the six cows we then had 14 cows and 4 calves. I sell milk every day and cows every year during Eid season. My two younger sisters started working with me. On my farm now 3 other girls are also working from our village.

I built a new house for my parents. I took my mother to Dhaka for her eye operation.

My father is very proud of me nowadays. He always keeps telling everybody of our village “daughters are blessings. I am fortunate I have daughters. They are mothers in your old age. If you believe in your daughters, they can do anything. You don’t always need sons for being proud and privileged but you do need a daughter like my Rotna .”

_Rotna

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My sister is 3 years older than me and I fit into all her dresses. But she never allows me to wear her clothes or touch her creams, oils or makeup. However, last summer for my cousin’s wedding she gave her only new red dress to me to wear and she decorated my hair with her new ribbon that she had never used before. Because we had only one new dress for both of us, only I could attend the wedding.

My sister was always very suspicious about all my work! She always interfered in everything I did. I often used to hide myself from her and yelled at her whenever she wanted to know what I was doing or what was happening in my life! She thought that whenever I do something, I do it wrong. I was so disturbed by her behavior of interfering in my life that I used to pray for her to disappear off the face of the earth. My sister kept poking me about everything and I yelled at her silently.

This was the relationship between us before the day when I saw her cleaning the yard of our school. That day I felt so ashamed and humiliated in front of all my classmates. They were making fun of her and bullying her saying she is ‘a cleaner’ and I am a ‘cleaner’s sister’. I ran to the washroom to hide my tears and stayed there till school finished for that day.


That afternoon I went back home and very furiously asked my mother “why she suddenly started cleaning the school and why people are making fun of me?” My mother slapped me very hard and said, “She left her schooling for you and took the cleaner’s job at the school so that you can continue your education without paying any more. That moment when I felt the slap, it did not hurt me as much as those words did!

The next morning when I went to school, I saw she had started cleaning the yard. When my friends started making fun of her again, I went directly to the library room and took the extra broom and started cleaning the yard beside her! After that day I never cared about what people thought but I cared about my sister who cares so much about me.

Now every day for the last six months I help my sister to clean the school yard. So it takes less time to finish the work and when she finishes she can help my mother. I started to work here six months ago in the brickfield with my father but only on the weekends. And I don’t give a single taka to my parents. Everyone asks what I will do with this money. I don’t answer. Please don’t share this with my sister; I am accumulating this money to buy a red beautiful saree for her wedding. She is my biggest enemy but the one enemy I can’t live without.

_ Nilufa

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Prostitutes don’t expect love in return from anyone. I also don’t expect it. From the very beginning of this life we learn how to live life without being loved back. But for the last 14 days I have been feeling very compassionate for this sick monkey…. I feel that he is far better than any social human being I ever met. This innocent creature even understands love and compassion and can love you back.

I bought this monkey from a street magician two weeks ago because he was looking so sick and the magician was forcefully making him dance and play. It was hurting me so badly that I started quarrelling with that man and wanted to buy his monkey. He was not agreeing to sell his money-making monkey. But I was also not a girl to let the poor monkey suffer. So the man asked for a big amount of money and he thought it would make me leave him because I am a poor prostitute. I told him to sit for a minute and without thinking for a second, I took all my money from my trunk which I had accumulated in the last 3 years making my blood into sweat so that I could get rid of this hell.

I finally could save my baby monkey. Everyone laughed at me and called me crazy but no one will ever understand the satisfaction that I feel. I am feeding him healthily and taking care of him for the last 14 days to make him well. I decided I will leave him in a jungle far from this concrete jungle. I know a prostitute can never be free and live her life in the society of the good people but I believe this monkey can live happily in his jungle

_ Beauty

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When my son brought Sultana home, everyone was angry. No one was ready to accept her. I looked at the face of my daughter-in-law and saw she had no innocence; there was maturity and bravery. My daughters, husband and everyone of my place started warning me how dangerous the girl can be. The day she arrived at home, my kitchen caught on fire because my saree fell into the stove. Everyone was screaming when Sultana brought sand in a bucket and threw it all over the place. She slightly burned her hands but stopped the fire. My daughters were telling me it was a bad omen; they said the new bride created the fire. I stopped them and explained how bravely she saved us. She won my heart in the first place. But no one liked her because Sultana came from the kind of family who can count how many times they eat fish or meat in a year. My husband told me what a loss it was to get a daughter-in-law whose parents could never feed us even once. I asked him why he always dislikes her. He told me because she is black and poor. I told him I am black and my own family is still poor. I asked him if he also thinks I am worthless. I did not listen to anyone because there she was with all her heart and labour pouring happiness into my house.

But after three years there was no child. Everyone had a valid reason to send her off to her parents’ house. But I was there, standing in front of her so no criticism nor bad talk could affect her. But I saw she was suffering badly because of the need for a child. She stopped smiling. One day I called her in the morning and we got ready together and told everyone we were going to my sister’s place. I lied to everyone. We went to the community clinic, and there she received treatment. After six months my daughter-in-law conceived. When my grandson was about to be born my daughter-in-law told me if something happened to her, I should never let the child be given to any other woman. I was there beside her the entire time; I did not say a word without praying. My daughter-in-law survived bravely and gifted me this beautiful grandson.

It’s been forty years that I’ve been working and every inch of my body hurts every minute. But the money I earn is important for my sick husband and family. I hardly have time to play with any of my grandchildren. Some days ago Sultana told me she got a new job for me and for her. I asked her what they were. She handed over my grandson to me and told me that looking after him and playing with him is my new job. I smiled and said, we need money to run our family. And then she showed me a card. I cannot read as I never went to school so she explained to me that she took a job in a garments factory and now I can retire. It’s been a few days since she started working. Yesterday I resigned from my labourer job. From early morning I have been feeling like a child as I do not know how this long day will pass. Whenever my grandson is laughing and playing with me, this brings tears to my eyes. I needed this rest; I badly needed to take a break. And no one understood it except my daughter-in-law who is worthless in everyone’s eyes but mine. She is becoming like my mother.

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‘I lost many things in my life and by standing at the end of my life, now I can tell you, how I gained everything what I had lost.

My husband died when during flood, a tree had fallen on him. I was standing just ten feet away from him in water. That night, I was seven months pregnant. After losing my husband, my house and everything I had, I felt to commit suicide. But I became mother after waiting for twelve years for a child. I had to survive for my child, so I came to city to search for work. After so many struggles I gave birth to my son, midwife told me, my son had problem and asked me to be prepared for his death. When he died after seven days, I had no one beside me and had no money. Even if you die you need money but no one came forward to help me. Only some orphan-street children gave me money, so I could do his last work. After buried him when I return to my hut, I didn’t cry. From that day, I no longer look behind what I had lost. Since the day, for thirty years, I had feed one orphan each day from my food. I lost my child but I kept giving the portion of his love to every miserable child I met on my way.

Last five years, I am suffering from tuberculosis and heart problems. Now all those orphan children grew up and taking care of me. I lost one child but now I have hundred’

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It took two days to give birth to my son. After his birth, the midwife told me my boy was dead. I could not let her take my baby. I was holding him to my chest and after a few minutes he started to cry. I named him Ibrahim. He was born after my fifth stillbirth. I never let him go out of my sight for a moment. I took his promise every night before he went to sleep: a promise that he would always enable me to hold my head up. When he was fifteen, he started writing poetry secretly. I do not know how to read or write. But a mother does not need to read anything; I could see by his eyes that he was in love. I wanted him to settle soon; wanted to see a house full of my grandchildren. Then the war started. I did not let my son leave me alone for a moment. I wanted to go somewhere where no military could come. That day when we were about to leave our village, I was finishing my prayers.

My son left me without saying anything. I quickly checked his poetry book and saw that it was missing. He was gone with his poems. For four months, I waited in my empty house for his return. People advised me to leave with my life. The whole village left without me. I did not escape. A mother of a freedom fighter cannot be weak. I knew he had to come back to me. Because I had no one other than him. Because he had to write more poetry for the girl who I knew nothing about. I inhaled the odor of my son’s shirt and keep waiting for him. Then one night, a young fighter came with Ibrahim’s poetry book. Ibrahim had died willingly while enabling their bravest fighters escape. His last operation was not successful, and a bomb took his life. They did not get any parts of his body. His friend handed me that diary which he left in the shelter. It had blood in the corner. I inhaled the smell of the blood of my son. I opened and touched a few pages. I did not cry at that moment; I did not want the freedom fighter who stood beside me to think I was weak. I requested him to read the last page of the diary. He read slowly, ‘Maa, I will never cause you to put your head down, I promise.’

_Jebunessa Begum

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My husband was an angel to me! He brought me here 50 years ago to avoid the bad mouthing I had to listen from the villagers every day!

I have no one in this world. My husband was everything to me. Before his death, he always used to ask me, “What would you do after my death? How you will live?” I never realized how much I had to suffer when he is no longer here. Now, I understand, how he had protected me like an umbrella my whole life! Even the day before his death he worked because of me!

Death is what sets my 50 years of love and relationship apart! Many people advise me to beg, so I can easily earn much more money than I earn working here so hard every day.

I begged my whole life! When my parents died and I had to live with my uncle, I used to beg to God to release me from my uncle’s house! I had to beg my husband to resist my mother-in-law when she wanted to re-marry my husband because of my childlessness!

I had to beg my whole life! I begged for a husband, I begged for children, I begged for safety and I begged for my dignity!
But I cannot beg for money! No no, I cannot hold my head up with my hands out! Hard work does not give me pain but indignity does!

I got married at a very young age! I could not learn anything from my family but I learned everything from my husband! He was a very enlightened man with unlimited love and respect for me. I learned from him how to hold my head high.

While other young women who work beside me can carry 12 bricks at a time, I can hardly carry 6 or even 4. But I am grateful to Allah that he still gives me strength to work so I can feed myself. I can earn money to survive and I don’t have to beg!

If my husband had been able to work until the day before his death, then I can too!
I get strength from my husband and respect, love and dignity from my hard work, some things which begging for money never can give me!

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International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

——————-

GMB Akash 

Photojournalist and Profile Photographer at Panos Pictures, London

Founder of GMB Akash Institute of Photography, Dhaka

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Climate Crisis

Climate change is the greatest threat to human life. Perhaps it’s even the greatest threat ever in the history of human existence. World temperature is rising at an unprecedented rate, resulting in droughts, sea level rising, forest fires, etc. which are taking place more frequently, impacting our environment and human lives.

Climate change is a global emergency, it’s just that simple to understand and isn’t a partisan issue, it’s a moral one and it’s the time to work together to take action to protect our planet.

We have known for a long time that the climate crisis is threatening our lives badly in every possible way and that it needs to be treated like the emergency it is. Now we need world leaders who believe in science and who should fight to protect our planet for future generations from the dangers of this climate crisis. Educating ourselves on this climate crisis is one of the most important steps in taking action. It’s not yet too late to educate ourselves on the facts of this global climate crisis, my friends. Let’s each do our own part from now on, to protect our planet from further destruction.

Let’s save our precious planet and make it the safest home possible for our future generations. Please, let’s not think, ‘Climate Change’ as an individual problem of any country or nation. This is a global phenomenon. To effectively face this crisis, we have to act as global citizens in every part of the world from now on.

This blog post acts as a prism reflecting callous realities and visual metaphors of the worldwide issues of climate change. Every photograph reveals the bare bones of the impact of climate disasters on populations and environments causing irreversible damage to life as we know it forever.

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“Climate change does not respect border; it does not respect who you are – rich and poor, small and big. Therefore, this is what we call ‘global challenges,’ which require global solidarity”

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“Climate change is happening, humans are causing it, and I think this is perhaps the most serious environmental issue facing us.”

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“Sooner or later, we will have to recognize that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution. What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans.”

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“There’s so much pollution in the air now that if it weren’t for our lungs there’d be no place to put it all.”

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“Due to sea-level rise projected throughout the 21st century and beyond, coastal systems and low-lying areas will increasingly experience adverse impacts such as submergence, coastal flooding, and coastal erosion.”

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“God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.”

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“Some species will adapt to new climates. Those that cannot adapt sufficiently fast will decrease in abundance or go extinct in part or all of their ranges.”

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“The greatest gift this generation can give future generations is a HEALTHY PLANET.”

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“Climate change is sometimes misunderstood as being about changes in the weather. In reality, it is about changes in our very way of life.” – Paul Polman”

Shaha Ali (60), a resident of Sariyakandi sits on the banks of the Jamuma River where his house once stood before the eroding river banks caused it to collapse (1)

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“One of the biggest obstacles to making a start on climate change is that it has become a cliche before it has even been understood”

A woman stands beside the River Jamuna where erosion is eating into its banks.

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“The environment will continue to deteriorate until pollution practices are abandoned.”

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GMB AKASH

Photojournalist & writer, received over 100 international Awards, speaker at TEDxPorto and TEDxHyderabad.

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Worst floods in years ‘submerge’ Bangladesh villages 2019

During the past weeks, Bangladesh has been experiencing the consequences of the worst flooding in 100 years which rapidly displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Millions of people are still at risk from the lack of food, clean water, shelter, hygienic facilities, telecommunication, electricity, and usable roads along with the threat of waterborne diseases. Many villages have been cut off completely, marooned and inundated by water. Hundreds of thousands have had major damage to their homes or lost them completely in the flood waters. Thousands of schools have been damaged or re-purposed to shelter flood victims.

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I first headed to the flood affected area of Kurigram where all the villages were under water within three days of flooding and had lost all communication. By the time I reached Gaibandha, the sun was setting. I was surviving in a boat and could not see any ground surface upon which to stand even for a short while. That evening, along with the drowning sun, this village was also drowning under water. People were sheltered above water on the roofs of their formerly intact houses. The moaning of old people and the crying of children were making the atmosphere morose. When I reached the house of Afroza begum I shut my eyes. It took two years to rebuild the house of Khadeza after she sold all her cattle as well as taking out huge loans. I was standing in front of her ruined home; a house which had been rebuilt during the last two years.  I could not reply to her anguish while she was hitting me and asking me why I came to take photos and why no one is helping them. No one came to ask them ever how they are managing to fight against the will of nature. She cursed all those happy people who sat silently and motionless in their homes after hearing the villagers’ tragic news.

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I was on the scene in four rural areas for 5 days last week trying to assist people and working. I was in an almost completely underwater village where people had been trying to live on very limited high ground above the water for the previous 12 days. They were placing themselves along the roads and on whatever they could find to stay above the flood water. They were suffering like deserted prisoners in a devastated water kingdom. Their helpless shouts were not getting into the ears of the rest of the people in the surrounding area, nor into the ears of the rest of the country, nor into those ears around the world.

In all the places I went to, there was flood water but not a single drop of clean drinking water. Even my team and I were facing problems to find clean drinking water and food. Inhabitants were collecting water after walking kilometer after kilometer in waist-deep flood water or by boat because all water tube wells were under water and badly affected by the polluted flood water.

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Sajeda Begum said, “I am 55 years old but in all my lifetime I have never experienced this kind of devastating flood!” After facing this catastrophic flood this year they are still fighting to stay alive.

After encountering the ravages caused by the force of nature and the bravery of these suffering villagers whose lives were now underwater, I realized that these people, involuntarily separated from the rest of the country, are stronger than most people and could rule over their own lives when necessary. If these courageous people could get even the support of a shoulder of the more fortunate amongst us to cry on, the rest of us could at least claim to be ‘Human’. If they receive some aid from disaster relief entities, it is only then that our society could claim to be a part of ‘Humanity’.

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Faruk Bepari told me, “Nobody gives us even a single glass of water, not even a small packet of salt. Our children are sick and hungry. Our house went under water; we have been living on part of this elevated road for the last 5 days. We have no one; only God knows what is waiting for us.”

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Last week, while a village was still in shock from the frenzy of the floods and still wading in deep water, my team and I managed to cook food for 500 flood victims. It was one of the most difficult challenges anyone organising without any infrastructure, to cook for a large number of victims in the worse flood devastated conditions that one could imagine. Everything had to be done on the only surface left above water in that village which was the roof of the village school. It was very difficult to cook and distribute the food because there was no dry place to gather all 500 people. It seemed to be an insurmountable and an almost impossible challenge, but we did it. Everything is possible when we do it from our soul.

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I listened to the tragic stories of the misery to which the people have been subjected, some of which I am telling you here along with some photographs and a video. The reality of the impact of this disaster on these people will certainly melt your heart.

Featured first on my Facebook page: GMB Akash

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